Whose Fault is this Sleepless Night?
Boys’ Love – Romance, smut
1 Volume (complete)
Media Do (Nihonbungeisha) / Digital Manga Publishing
Miyabi’s workplace is a known pick-up spot for gay men. Miyabi asks one young man to hurry up and leave, but he wants Miyabi! Miyabi is shocked, as he’s not gay, but he agrees to go with the handsome guy… The next day, Miyabi is trying to mentally downplay the encounter, but the two meet again unexpectedly!
Warning: this review is of a series that is recommended for ages 18+ and is not safe for work!
Basically, a guy who insists he’s straight (Miyabi) ends up following a gay guy (Shuhei) to a hotel. The two discover they’re going to be roommates at their high school dorm the next day.
First thing first: Miyabi (and his coworker) have some horrible assumptions about the gay community. They think men who like men just go around trying to find people to sleep with day in and day out. Shuhei tries to accurately point out that you don’t need to be in love to sleep with someone, and besides, it’s harder to find a longterm partner than for a heterosexual couple. (At least in a country like Japan where same-sex marriage is illegal, but it’s still probably true in countries that have legalized it.)
According to Miyabi’s childhood friend Shinoi, Miyabi’s bias comes from the fact that he works in an area where he sees some unsavory behaviors and is sometimes the target of men cruising. He’s not using his bias as a way to cover up his sexuality, at least not in full; in fact, Shinoi is interested in his roommate Kono, so Miyabi doesn’t hate anyone who’s gay.
That being said, he does come across as a hypocrite. He acknowledges this in the second chapter, but combined with his possessive personality, it’s hard to see Miyabi liking Shuhei for more than his body. After all, they have a one-night stand (and they both lied about their ages to each other we learn), and then Miyabi is upset that Shuhei may have other one-night stands. Even for most of the manga, it’s “he’s so cute” over “he’s so nice”. You could also reasonably make a case that since he repeatedly thinks that just hooking up is bad (basically immoral, although he doesn’t go that far), that by convincing himself he likes Shuhei, that it becomes mentally okay for them to sleep together. The manga itself and the author would disagree, of course, but it’s hard to feel the love from his side.
Interestingly enough, in the comments, the author talks about how Miyabi the top was more like a bottom while bottom Shuhei was panting too much in the story. So maybe part of the reason I wasn’t feeling the love in the manga was the fact that both leads ended up different from the author’s plan. Still, Shuhei is more relatable and likable than Miyabi. He left his previous school due to bullying, and he hasn’t even been able to come out to his parents yet. Him falling for Miyabi makes sense because a) he doesn’t question his sexuality and knows his type and b) can view Miyabi’s occasional possessive behaviors as signs of affection.
In addition to the main story, Shinoi and Kono start in their own story at the end of the volume. In the main story, we only see Kono briefly, but he’s mentioned by Shinoi a lot. Shinoi spends every night in the hallway, cheerfully explaining he’s kicked out of the room because he likes Kono. But optimistic idiot Shino still likes him no matter what. We get the full picture in their chapter, and it’s much better than what I expected. There’s no smut in this section, but that actually helps to keep this story focus on the sweetness.
The art is very nice. It’s not the most stylish manga out there, but that doesn’t make it visually boring. The manga opens with Miyabi surprised at what he’s done, but their actual tryst is shown here and there; during the actual flashblack leading up to the opening page, all we see is them kiss. That’s unusual, but it is a unique way to both get those sexy scenes throughout the manga and to tell what Miyabi (and Shuhei) is thinking about. Since most of the manga takes place in or around their room, there isn’t a lot of hard or unique backgrounds. A proper smut scene isn’t until the end of the main story, and the balance of text and visuals makes a good payoff if that’s what you are most interested in. I did assume this manga was about two men in the workforce based on the cover, so the young men do look a little older. I think it’s because their uniforms look more like suits than school uniforms. I actually like them better in the color image above than on the cover or wearing their gakuran in the manga.
I’m reviewing the version Whose Fault is this Sleepless Night?, and there are almost assuredly differences between that and the version released under the title Sleepless Nights. But in this version, there are awkward text, unnecessary articles, typos like no space after a period, space in the word “without” — not to mention completely confusing dialogue.
“You go to Kousei High School, right? The boys’ high and staying at the boys’ dorm.”
“With that situation, are there many who starts turning inton’t there many get in ‘that’?”
Obviously, the coworker was asking if there are a lot of guys there who are or become gay, but seriously… that third line is awful, even disregarding the obvious typo. It’s like two different ways of asking the same sentence were smushed together. The whole manga is rough and sometimes comes across as a bit insulting to the LGBTQ+ community. Yes, the coworker has some wrong stereotypes about people who are gay. But those individuals “go cruising even when they have a steady”? They work “in the middle of the gay town”? While the translation probably accurately reflects the original Japanese script, it sounds really bad when combined with the awful English text.
Whose Fault is this Sleepless Night? probably wouldn’t have gotten a recommendation from me in the first place, but the translation will make you wince repeatedly. You can figure out what they’re saying, but for a professional release, this one is of low quality.
Murakami’s In the Sweet Palm of Your Hand, Stairway to Love, and The 10 O’Clock Rule are all available in English from Digital Manga or MediBang.